Pickled red onions are the one condiment that you’ll always want have in your fridge! These vibrant pink onions add a tangy, crunchy topping to anything from salads to charcuterie boards. This no-cook pickled onion recipe requires only 5 ingredients and is ready in 10 minutes! You’ll only need onions, vinegar, water & a little bit of salt & sugar. Thanks to the acid, sugar and salt, pickling is an excellent method of preserving onions. When kept refrigerated, these pickled red onions will last up to 4 weeks – that is, if you don’t eat them all first.
To make pickled onions, begin by preparing your ingredients. Measure out your vinegar, water, sugar and salt and combine into a saucepan. You’ll need to slice your onions thinly, so make sure to use a very sharp knife. A mandolin will do as well, if you’re comfortable with using one.
Peel & slice onions
To peel your onion easily, slice the onion in half length wise (from root to top). The peel will come off much easier than if you try to peel it whole. Discard the peel.
Place the cut side down onto your cutting board and hold the onion firmly on the root end. Use a sharp knife to slice into half moons.
If using optional pickling spices, place spices into a wide mouth mason jar. Place red onion slices on top, packing them down.
Heat liquid & pour on top
Bring the saucepan to a gentle simmer over medium high heat. Be careful not to inhale this mixture – the vinegar fumes tend to sting the nose and eyes.
Once the sugar is fully dissolved, take a few tbsp of the liquid and pour into jar. Swirl it around gently. This step is very important as it helps to temper the jar – if you pour very hot liquid into a cold glass jar, you risk breaking it. Putting a couple of tbsp in first helps to warm the jar up so you can avoid any accidents!
Once the jar has been warmed, gently pour the rest of the liquid over the onions. Your onions will naturally float to the top. Use a spoon or a butter knife to pack them down gently and ensure they are fully submerged. Use a pickling weight to hold them under the liquid if needed. Allow to cool to room temperature before putting a lid on the jar and transfering to the fridge. You can use the pickled red onions immediately if you’d like, but the flavours will develop even further once they have cooled for a few hours.
How to use pickled red onions
You can add pickled onions to virtually anything that you would add regular sliced onions to.
serve them on a cheese plate or charcuterie board
use them as a topping for tacos
add them to a sandwich
on top of a buddha bowl
as a topping for your favorite burger
an extra layer of colour and crunch on nachos
toss them into your favorite salad
chop them up and mix into yogurt for a delicious raita
eat them straight out of the jar!
Can I pickle other vegetables?
This recipe also works well for pickling shredded carrots, daikon, radish & turnip. You might also enjoy our asian pickled vegetable variation here. We really like to play with sugars and vinegars. Rice wine vinegar is much sweeter and will yield a different end result, but will be equally delicious. You can try maple syrup instead of white sugar. Or, you can even try with a smoked salt. Have fun with it and tell us what you think in the comments!
Pickled Red Onions
an easy recipe using only 5 ingredients that comes together in 10 minutes